Gus Gus is a 23 year old retired lesson pony that needed a forever home and a forever girl. Luckily he and she found each other. It was a fine fine day when her riding teacher's husband showed up, surprise, with a trailer and a pony and, backed that pony out of the trailer, and handed that 6 year old girl the lead line. As he says, it was one of the best things he has ever done. To see the look on a little girl's face as she realizes that the pony she has loved and ridden is coming home to be hers, just hers.
So as parents we cringed a bit, when we were offered the opportunity to bring gus gus home, at the stereotype, and we, for a second, questioned, foolishly, whether owning a pony turns you into one of those snotty kids that gets waited on and pampered and whines for more. Then we thought of our daughter, who has never been any of those things, and we certainly don't subscribe to that sort of parenting. Its not the pony that makes those kids that way. Duh! So, we indulged.
While the up front cost was zilch, maintaining a senior pony is not. Not expensive, but not free. I had alot to learn about farriers (trimming feet every few months) and horse dentists (treating teeth every few months) and "good" hay v.s. "bad" hay (our goats will eat whatever quality hay--the horse will not!)
Luckily my girl, who has been riding at "the barn" for 3 years, had alot of wisdom to share with me.
She has beautifully kept up her end of the bargain for the most part. She rides nearly daily to keep the old guy in good condition, she cleans stalls and feet and brushes and snuggles. And although watching her canter across our field barefoot and bareback and grinning this summer may have been one of my greatest joys, its those times that I loose her. When I know she is sad or struggling or frustrated. But after giving her some time, I know I can walk to the barn and find her. Snuggled up in his stall, or laying over his back, or brushing him and talking to him. And that is the time when I have no doubt that Gus Gus was the perfect addition to our homestead.
|test driving her new-to-her saddle on her 7th birthday|